As a so called Civil War “buff” I’ve read with interest George Crockett’s letters objecting to hearing “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” at patriotic events. I had ancestors that fought in the Union army and ancestors that fought in the Confederate army and I agree with Mr. Crockett that the Battle Hym did inspire Northern soldiers to kill Southern soldiers but no more than songs like “Dixie” or “Bonnie Blue Flag” inspire Southern soldiers to kill Northerners, Robert E. Lee once said that without music there would be no army. Regimental bands on both sides played during battles to inspire the soldiers.
After the battle of Fredericksburg while the opposing armies sat staring at each other across the river there was a battle of the bands of sorts.The Union band would play one of their patriotic songs then the Confederate band would reply with one of theirs. This went on for quite awhile and at the end of the evening both bands played “Home Sweet Home” in unison and soldiers on both sides of the river sang along. This a shadow of things to come because we became one nation again.We study history to learn from it not to open up old wounds.
Richard Penix — Franklin, N.C.